Wild Card Game Preview: Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
By Ha Kung Wong Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars Chiefs
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, January 7, 2018 – 1:05 PM ET
Current Line – Jaguars by 8.5
NOTE: Ryan Whitfield and I also broke this game down in this weeks podcast, so give it a listen!
Passing Rank (DVOA) – 28th
- Passing Yards Per Game – 176.6 (31st)
Rushing Rank (DVOA) – 19th
- Rushing Yards Per Game – 126.1 (6th)
Points Per Game – 18.9 (22nd)
It’s pretty clear that Bills will severely hampered without a decent ground game. Part of that is due to a mobile Tyrod Taylor, who has the 3rd most rush yards of any QB in the league (427), averaging a healthy 5.1 yards per carry. But let’s be honest, the more important portion is LeSean McCoy. McCoy has the 2nd most carries for the 4th most rush yards of any RB this season (1,138), but a balky ankle looks limit him this weekend. He’s currently listed as Questionable for the Wild Card game.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2018
It looks like McCoy will play, and honestly, he’s one of the most productive backs in the NFL while listed on the injury report.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) January 6, 2018
Ultimately, the healthier McCoy will be, the better the Bills chances will be.
Pass Defense Rank (DVOA) – 12th
- Passing Yards Allowed Per Game – 230.5 (20th)
Run Defense Rank (DVOA) – 31st
- Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game – 124.6 (29th)
Points Allowed Per Game – 22.4 (18th)
The Bills don’t have a great defense, but they can be opportunistic with the 9th most takeaways in the NFL this season (25). The problem is that the Jaguars are sure to feed rookie standout Leonard Fournette on the ground, and the Bills are ranked second to last slowing down opposing RBs. If the Bills, though, can keep the game close, they may force Blake Bortles to throw the ball, and perhaps build on Bortles streak of 5 INTs over his last 2 games.
Passing Rank (DVOA) – 25th
- Passing Yards Per Game – 224.6 (17th)
Rushing Rank (DVOA) – 4th
- Rushing Yards Per Game – 141.4 (1st)
Points Per Game – 26.1 (5th)
The formula is super clear. Give Fournette the ball as much as possible and limit Bortles ability to hurt them. Fournette has 1,049 rushing yards this season, 2nd most by a rookie in franchise history and his 268 rush attempts are the most in franchise history. He’s a big reason why the Jags have the most total rushing yard in the NFL.
The Jags have been successful this season with the 5 highest time of possession of any team in the NFL (31:43), and I don’t see that changing in the Wild Card game. As mentioned above, Bortles has been horrific of late, throwing 5 INTs in the last 2 games, which they unsurprisingly lost. You can bet they won’t allow that to happen again.
Pass Defense Rank (DVOA) – 1st
- Passing Yards Allowed Per Game – 169.9 (1st)
Run Defense Rank (DVOA) – 26th
- Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game – 116.3 (21st)
Points Allowed Per Game – 16.8 (2nd)
The Jaguars not only have the best pass defense in the NFL, they’re also one of the most opportunistic having the second most takeaways in the league (33).
The Jaguars defense is insane. pic.twitter.com/Za5M46t22b
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 5, 2018
The Bills will try to challenge on the ground game behind McCoy, Taylor and Mike Tolbert, but if they try to go airborne, I’d be worried.
The Bills haven’t made the playoffs in 17 years, and they needed the Bengals to come from behind with a last second win against the Ravens to get there. It was cool how much money Bills fans raised for Andy Dalton’s charity as thanks for his heroic efforts that let them slide into the playoffs, but unless something shocking happens on defense, I don’t think they have enough offense to overcome this elite defensive unit.
Jaguars Win and Cover the Spread